The Syntax in Pantomimic Re-enactments of Events Among Polish Participants

Author: Monika Boruta
Author: Marek Placiński
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 106-117
DOI Address:
PDF: kie/116/kie11607.pdf

What appears to be a key question in recent studies on language evolution is the notion of natural word order-a hypothesis propounding word order to be innate in a phylogenetic and cognitive sense (Dryer, 2005; Pagel, 2009; Gell-Mann & Ruhlen, 2011). Gesture and sign studies provide a sound base for the topic. The primary idea for the study comes from Goldin-Meadow et al. (2008) research, which proposed the silent gesture paradigm, in which participants communicate simple events with the aid of their hands. The result of their research suggests that when participants communicate via gestures, notwithstanding their native language, they apply the SOV (subject-object-verb) word order-a finding which has been largely substantiated, but also discussed by following studies (e.g., Gibson et al., 2013; Hall et al., 2013). The purpose of our study was to verify whether the SOV order is prevalent in the experimental environment when participants are instructed to use whole-bodily pantomime rather than hand-and-arm gesture only. The actors in the study were instructed to perform reversible events from the pictures. Reversible events means that both the actor and the patient can perform an action. There exists an exciting opportunity for our study to shed a new light on research into natural word order.


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